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North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Michigan State Spartans

Friday, 11/11/11, 7:00 PM EST, TV: N/A
Opening Point Spread:  North Carolina -9.5
Current Betting Line:  North Carolina -10.5
Opening Total:  137
Current Total:  135
WagerMinds Game Detail 

North Carolina is set to open its season in the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic in San Diego, CA, Friday night, bringing back all five starters from last year’s team that finished 29-8 on the year.  The Tar Heels will also be dealing with the expectations placed on them in being the No. 1 team in the preseason polls.

“I think they’ll handle it,” commented Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams.  “You don’t have a choice.  If you want to be good, you’ve got to play well.”

The game will be the fourth regular season contest that the program will play inside the state of California during Williams’ nine years on campus.  North Carolina is 89-12 all-time in season-opening games and have won six in a row.

Williams has led his squad to a perfect 5-0 record against Michigan State during his time in Chapel Hill, while the program is 10-3 all-time, including an 89-82 win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 1, 2009 as a 1.5-point home favorite.

North Carolina will be led by Harrison Barnes, who has the potential to end up being the ACC Player of the Year.  He was one of four players on the roster to be named to the John Wooden Award preseason top 50 list.

Bettors will find that the Tar Heels are 5-10 ATS in neutral court games the past two years, while the ‘under’ is 10-7 in that span.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Michigan State will face a serious challenge when playing aboard the deck of the USS Carl Vinson on Veteran’s Day.  The Spartans will be joining the Tar Heels in wearing special camouflage uniforms for the event.

Head coach Tom Izzo is coming off a 19-15 season, but carries a wave of optimism into this season.  “This is going to be a fun team to watch,” Izzo commented.  “I think the chemistry and camaraderie is going to be a lot better than it’s been.”

The Spartans are 90-22 all-time in openers, proving victorious in 33 of the last 34 such contests.  It will be hard-pressed in winning this particular matchup, bringing in a 3-17 all-time record versus the No. 1 team in the country.

Senior forward Draymond Green figures to be the leader of the team, being one of just 10 players in the nation to lead a squad in rebounding and assists last year.  He has tallied 18 career double-doubles.

Over the last two seasons, Michigan State is 26-41 ATS and the ‘under’ is 38-27 in that span of games.

Pick: 

North Carolina Tar Heels -10.5

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